Chelsea fans were distraught when Frank Lampard announced last week that his 13-year spell at Stamford Bridge had come to an end. Having scored 211 goals in 648 appearances for the Blues, Super Frank is heading for pastures new, with the MLS the most likely destination, per The Telegraph.
As upsetting as it is to say goodbye to one of the greatest players to play for the club, this move is best for everyone involved.
Through no fault of his own, Lampard became a victim of age. At 35 years old, he cannot compete week-in, week-out at the level Chelsea need. While he certainly could have found a place within the squad and still been involved, it would not have been in the regular capacity that he is used to. Frank still feels he has a few years of playing left in him, so a move to the MLS makes sense.
Football in America is less intense than the European game, and he would be joined by several veterans from the continent. Thierry Henry has managed to extend his career with the New York Red Bulls, while Robbie Keane found some success at LA Galaxy. Both of these players had come to the same realisation as Frank: That they wanted to carry on playing at a high level, but staying in Europe was not an option.
This break in his Chelsea career will also benefit Lampard if and when he decides to make the transition into management.
According to The Guardian, Jose Mourinho said last week that he is welcome back at any time, in any role he wants. Whether he decides to work his way up through coaching in the academy or dive straight in as Jose’s assistant, Lampard has a future at Stamford Bridge. Spending a year or two away from the club will help that transition, preventing any problems that could arise from him becoming his teammates’ boss.
It also allows Mourinho to find a successor to Frank without stepping on the legend’s toes.
While the official Chelsea website was correct in noting that the club “have never seen his like in our midfield before, and we will be very blessed to again see his equal,” somebody will need to pick up his legacy of bursting runs from midfield and incisive, perfectly timed passes. It will surely be easier for a younger player to find his feet in that role without Lampard looking over his shoulder.
Saying goodbye is rarely an enjoyable experience, but in the case of Lampard’s departure from Chelsea, it promises a bright future for everyone.